Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Experimenting with Curved Piecing

Mmmkkkk so straight up this is a post sharing the hardest thing I've made so far in my sewing experience. We had some friends getting married that are part of video gaming community that my husband is a part of. Ari had the idea that we should make them something with the logo of their group on it. I said "sure" not really thinking about it, but quickly kinda started to panic at how to approach this logo. We went with pillows as it seemed like a nice, homey, new couple type gift. I made sort of like a stencil of the logo, cut out all of the fabric and then quickly realized I had no freaking clue how to do any type of curved piecing. After lots of YouTube videos, yelling, wasted fabric, and a few moments of weakness where I almost gave up and went to pick up a gift certificate instead.....I made the dang pillows.

As you can kinda see in this photo, the fabric doesn't lay very evenly so I still have a lot of work to do in learning how to make things like this. The nice thing about pillows is that a large squishy thing is going inside so it helps kind of disguise that the piecing isn't totally flat.

I also sort of embroidered their gamer handles on the pillows. I just used hand quilting thread and not embroidery floss so it's not crazy noticeable from afar, but I think it's a nice small touch. The photo above is just me lining it out and chalk.

I don't mean to doubt myself or my abilities, but like...I'm really surprised at myself that I pulled this off! I definitely want to take some kind of class or guided project so I can get better at this kind of thing, but jeeze louise I'm pretty stoked about these pillows. I would love to hear if anyone else has good tips or experience with this kind of piecing work!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What I Made: Christmas Kitchen Swap

It seems crazy early to be thinking about Christmas sometimes, but I just finished a Christmas Kitchen Swap and am in the middle of the Bee Creative Stocking Swap! Christmas Kitchen Swap partner received her items a few days so it's finally safe to share!

I found the Christmas Kitchen Swap through Lizette on Instagram. It's the first time I'd done a sewing specific swap so I was nervous and excited. I had to made 1 tea towel, 1 pot holder, and 2 placemats. 

I found this fat quarter pack at a local fabric store and immediately fell in love with their vintage feel and knew I wanted to used them for this swap. I also took a huge leap on the Christmas tree style piecing on the placemats. I'd never done anything like that before so there was a huge change I would screw it up, but I really love how it came out.

My partner also specified that they really loved Santa Claus specific Christmas items so I made sure to use lots of extra Santa Fabric on the oven mitt and the pot holder.

I couldn't think of many super creative "extras" to send with this swap especially because in September there isn't yet a ton of Christmas items in stores. Instead, I decided to make extra things to send. I included an extra oven mitt and tea towel so my partner would have a larger matching set of things for their kitchen.

I found these vintage Christmas postcards at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore over the summer. One was blank and one had clearly been saved after being mailed to someone. I thought it was such a fun find as I've always enjoyed collecting vintage ephemera. 

The oven mitt and towels I've made before from a class I took and have them several times for other people, but overall this swap was a really excellent opportunity for me to flex the sewing skills I've learned to try to make something from my own brain for someone else. Much of my sewing up to this point has been working with an instructor, following a pattern, or looking up tutorials of some kind. This time around, I found my initial inspiration and then just went for it. I'm really excited to keep exploring ideas and continue to teach myself new skills.

I haven't yet received my items for this swap, but I'm so excited to see it all! Now to get to finishing my stocking for the next swap....

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Birthday: A Reflection & My 27 Before 28 List

20 something years later and this is pretty much still me
It's my birthday! I've been spending a lot of time on self reflection lately and really needing to take some space to hash out the state of things in my brain. So. I'm doing that. Because it's my birthday and my blog. So sorrynotsorry but long "dear diary" style post ahead!

I really love setting goals around my birthday. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it comes from the fact that my birthday was always right after school started and it just kinda tends to be how my brain orients. A "new year" in my mind starts around the end of August. Around my birthday last year was also when I decided to start blogging again which happened to coincide with the relaunch of Bee Creative Swaps and an overall surge in my personal creative pursuits. I went from barely finding the time to make anything outside of work requirements, to learning how to quilt, blogging roughly once a week, co-hosting 2 craft swaps, participating in a few swaps, and making a ridiculous amount of things. I'm still finding the balance, but I'm really happy with that change.

Every year I make a list of goals and last year's list was the kickoff of my plunge back into blogging and reclaiming my space as a maker. You can check out my post from last year, but I'm also reflecting on and reviewing those goals. I only met 4 out of 9, but they are 4 goals I'm really proud of. Some of the 5 that I didn't hit were totally out of my control and, even if they weren't, that's okay.

Last year's goal review....

1. Create one thing per week- I think it's safe to say I smashed the crap out of this goal. For a sample of what I've made, click here

2. Host another craft swap- I'm so happy Bee Creative Swaps is back up and going so well! We're on our second swap of the year that has a crazy number of people from all over the world signed up! I can't wait to see what else Lizette and I do next!

3. Make a quilt- Yes! I did this! Finally! Wanting to learn how to quilt was the reason I even began to learn how to sew. This spring I made a crib quilt for my niece and my first full size quilt for my nephew is almost complete!

4. Make a t-shirt quilt- I haven't tackled this one yet. To be honest, I'm terrified of cutting into some of my shirts out of fear of screwing up the quilt with irreplaceable fabric. However, the shirts for the quilts have been set to the side and I have been collecting fabric for the quilts. Baby steps!

5. Read 12 books- Yeahhhhh....so since making this goal last year I have only read 2 novels plus about 3 or 4 graphic novels. I recently started rereading the Harry Pottery series as well as tracking my progress on the Good Reads app. I hope to squeeze in 10 books by the end of the calendar year!

6. Get a new tattoo- Unexpected financial stuff kept me from this goal, but 2017! I'm looking at you! 

7. Visit a national park- Well, we visited some state parks, but no national parks yet! This one I also didn't do because trips for weddings or family obligations kept happening. While those trips were fun in different ways, I definitely want to do more hiking, camping, and visiting parks this year!

8. Become a level 3 certified WFDTA Non Skating Official- This one I didn't achieve, HOWEVER, it's mostly because the WFTDA shut down it's certification process. I *did* almost all of the steps possible so this goal would have theoretically been achieved and I'm still really proud of the work I put in. I know it makes me stronger official no matter what!

9. Officiate 50 roller derby games- As of the date of my birthday, I have officiated 61 games. By the official close of my 2016 season, I am estimating I will have officiated 66 games. That is insanity! 2017 I will definitely be scaling back on the quantity and focusing more on the quality of games, but I'm still so proud of myself for how much I've hustled this season! 

This time last year, I was in a really weird place. We had just moved to Texas, I was running my studio remotely, trying to figure out to open a new studio in Austin, and just generally being pretty overwhelmed. I had no idea that by the end of that year, I would no longer own my studio. It was difficult for so many reasons and 2016 certainly has not gone as a planned, but I feel so much more secure in where I am now. I started Made With Moxie (!!!!!!!) and, while it's still very small, I know it's going to develop into something great. Not have all of these changes allowed me to focus on getting back to my own creative process, but I picked up skills beyond my goals like paper piecing and making all the hexies!

Moving forward onto new-ish* goals and feeling stoked! Last year I kept my list short because things were so in flux. This year I decided to do a full 27 Goals before my 28th Birthday style list. I like goals that are very specific and measurable. I think a goal like "exercise more" is dumb. Life gets crazy and how do you know when you've reached that goal? I like goals that involve very specific numbers and lengths of time. I also enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I've hit the goal and exactly when it happened so that's also me being crazy. So...here it is....

My 27 before 28 list....

1. Make a t-shirt quilt- I'm going to get over my fear of cutting into my t-shirts and make this happen! Ari has a stack of old shirts saved as well so I'm going to make somewhat matching his & hers t-shirt blankets for our living room because I'm a cheeseball.

2. Read 12 books- I really, really, really want to get into the habit of reading one book per month. I went from never reading to being on my 4th book plus a handful of graphic novels since July so I feel like I'm getting there!

3. Get a new tattoo- because duh.

4. Draw or doodle something every day- preferably as part of morning routine with a cup of coffee in hand

5. Host another craft swap with Bee Creative Swaps- it's been amazing to work with Lizette again and connect with so many makers! The Viva La Frida swap was by far my favorite. I can't wait to see how we expand for 2017!

6. Catch up on scrapbooking- So, no joke, yesterday I worked on some scrapbooking with photos from my junior year of high school.  I love scrapbooking, but I'm always several years behind! What's worse is because I save movie stubs, buttons, tickets, and everything else, there's always a pile of junk on my desk! Getting up to current on my scrapbooking would solve so many organizational problems in my life.

7. Create an inspiring workspace- while I do have a part-time day job, Made With Moxie is a home based business. At any given moment I could be sewing, painting pottery, painting with acrylic, or doing a variety of other miscellaneous projects. We have always lived in small spaces and it's been difficult to get the right set up so I can have access to my materials without making a giant mess all over our apartment. I know there is a solution out there somewhere and this year I want to find it. Prepare the Pinterest spiral!

8. Try vlogging and/or video tutorials

9. See an original Frida painting in real life!

10. Participate in one local fair or festival in Austin with Made With Moxie

11. Complete an event with Made With Moxie at a local business- these last two goals are similar in that my overall goal is to be more dedicated about pounding the pavement with Made With Moxie. The tangible effects that I would like to see would a booth at a craft show or festival around town as well as some kind of on-site event at a local business whether it's paid or purely promotional.

12. Open my Etsy shop for Made With Moxie- I currently have my shop up for the The Morose Bee, but I think it's important to maintain separation for the sake of a clear brand and purpose. My business is so new in Austin that I don't want anyone who stumbles across it to see an Etsy shop full of jewelry and get confused on what I'm offering.

13. Visit a national park

14. Visit Colorado- this could go hand-in-hand with my last goal quite easily, but I would also love to just visit! Colorado is a place I've never been, but have never heard anything but amazing things about it as a whole.

15. Go camping- again this could totally tie in with my goals to visit a national park, but I would be happy just to go camping at a local site around Austin. My style of camping is napping outside, roasting vegan marshmallows, and sleeping in late.

16. Put on my skates at least twice a week- even if I don't have time to actually "go skating," I want to at least be working on footwork in my apartment. I just need my skates on my feet more often!

17. Complete a minimum of 4 weeks of fitness training- I've always had a strong desire to be more physically active, but often feel like I have no idea where to begin. A structured training program sounds exactly like what I need to navigate the really overwhelming world of fitness.

18. Referee my first derby game- in all likelihood, this will be a super chill non-regulation/non-sanctioned game. and probably just more of a formalized scrimmage. I love being an NSO, but it's time to get my reffing career off the ground.

19. Finish my coffee at home- okay so this is a weird one, I guess. I always stay up too late, oversleep and am rushing around the house in the morning. My part-time job is in the morning so I'm often rushing there with no breakfast and coffee in hand. Once I get there, I often put my coffee down, get too busy, and don't pick it back up again until it's cold and/or I just don't want it anymore. My ultimate goal is to  wake up early enough that I can exercise, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and then sit down for 30 minutes with a cup of coffee before running out the door to work. Finishing my coffee at home means a peaceful and collected morning as opposed to stress and chaos.

20. Average 9 hours of sleep per night- I have a really hard time falling asleep and a really hard time waking up. I also really love naps. All of those things combined means my schedule gets real wonky and often ending up screwing up my internal clock and not getting enough sleep. My FitBit says my current average is around 7.5 hours so I feel like I can make 9 hours happen!

21. Try doing yoga for at least a month- I have always wanted to try yoga and I've certainly *attempted* it once or twice, but never long enough to notice any effects on my mind or body. I would like to attempt to do yoga a few days a week as a part of my fitness routine for a minimum of 30 days.

22. Have a nutrition consultation- I've been vegetarian for 12 years and vegan for 8 and have never had any kind of appointment with a nutritionist or health anything of any kind. While I feel good about my dietary choices, I think anyone of any diet should make sure they're bodies are happy even under the surface.

23. Bake something new once per month- for a while I was baking a lot! I have a fancy stand up mixer, 3 vegan dessert cookbooks plus the desserts in my regular cookbooks, and a bunch of other under utilized cooking accessories. I've been gravitating away from things like sodas, candy, or sweets that are fake and full of crap and more into craving fresh pastries and things that satisfy my sweet tooth in a way that doesn't feel like I just ate a pile of fake coloring and sugar syrup.

24. Brush up on my Spanish- I took Spanish in middle school, high school, and college. I'm embarrassed to admit I only remember a few basic vocabulary words. 

25. Begin learning sign language- sign language is used a bit to communicate with little ones at the school I work at, but I wish I could utilize more when I'm there. Eventually I'm going to want to have kids and I definitely would like to be able to teach sign language to my kids in infancy. I feel the easiest way to do that is just to practicing now at work so it's

26. Sign up for a stationary club- I have been drooling over other people's beautiful monthly planners and I love the idea of keeping a really detailed and visually pleasing agenda. I want to find a good stationary/planner monthly subscription box to help inspire me to keep day to day life organized, but I haven't quite found the right one. Plus I love mail and sampler boxes. 

27. Buy a house- I put this one down last because this is big and scary and so adult feeling and scary, but there's a huge chance that once our rental lease is up in 2017 we might try to buy a house. We've decided not to worry about it until after the new year, but it's definitely something stuck in my brain!

Whew! So many things to get excited about! Happy birthday to me. Time to eat all the food and enjoy a day of laziness before kicking off with this list!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

In Pictures: August/September 2016

After a summer of what felt like I was traveling all the time, The last 2 months have been a lot of working and sewing. I signed up for a the Christmas Kitchen Swap, the Bee Creative Stocking Swap is up and running, I handmade some wedding gifts, and I've been trying to power through Christmas gifts as early as possible. Now that we're in October, I see no end in sight of making, making, making all the time!

cooking and derby watchin'
Poke hunting in Austin
exploring new places
almost done with this dang quilt!
holding teeny tiny baby piglets!
just hanging out with this beautiful gal
as sneak peak at my Christmas Kitchen Swap! A separate post about this will be coming soon!
making hexies

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Spooky Saturday: Halloween Prep

Sooooooo I know I've skipped a few Spooky Saturdays, but things have been a bit hectic lately. I really enjoy making these creative challenges for myself and I was hoping to do a bunch of Halloween things this season, but with a swap deadline, a wedding I was out of town for, and just general life stuff... I got a bit behind.  But we're a week into October, I've started getting myself organized, and I'm back to Halloween prep. This year for the first time ever, I'm attempting to make my halloween costume from scratch! I've always "assembled" Halloween costumes as opposed to sewing anything, but this year I finally have the skills to make it happen. I'm going to be Flame Princess from Adventure Time!

Some Inspiration

The first step was transitioning out of  purple hair. I could buy a wig, but they're pricey, I might not even need it again, and I already like dying my hair. I knew I wanted to be Flame Princess a while back and decided to let the purple fade out. I died it a really dark red knowing it would also fade a lot before Halloween and I plan to add in some bright orange soon. My bathroom also looked like I murdered someone for kind of while. It might still look like that...

I purchased 3 different fabrics for her dress, but struggled to figure out how to assemble it for a while.  I found this neat resource of the Flame Princess pattern, but I wanted something a bit more umm...casual, I guess. Ultimately, I decided I'm going to take my Washi Dress Pattern and edit it to look like the Flame Princess dress. I haven't cut into the fabric yet mostly because I've been stalling while I finish formulating how I want to make the dress.

The only thing I really haven't decided on yet is her orange skin. The idea of coating my face and arms in orange make up sounds less than fun. I'm still pondering that and open to suggestions from any of my friends that do cosplay or have other experience in this kind of thing. I've never done a super elaborate costume, but when I stop and think about it I'm honestly kind surprised at myself that I never got into cosplay. 

I'm looking forward to finishing and posting the rest of the costume!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Spooky Saturdays: Vegan Noms

I've officially started putting pumpkin in everything! I've been blending pumpkin into my coffee, making pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin protein shakes...all the pumpkin! Fall is my favorite time to make seasonal recipes beyond just all the pumpkin all the time. Here's a handful of recipes I will definitely be trying over the next few weeks! Plus they're all vegan! Woot!

Pumpkin Hummus (source)
Almond Butter Cups (source)
Candy Corn Milkshake (source)
Pumpkin Quinoa Bake (source)
Avocado Mac N' Cheese (source)
Raw "Candy Corn" Cheesecake (source)
Deviled Purple Potatoes (source)
Purple Sweet Potato Pie (source)

Not really a recipe, but still good to know! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Spooky Saturdays: Halloween Scrap Pillows

While I haven't fully gone crazy on decorated our apartment for Halloween yet, I did take advantage of some halloween scrap fabric and made some new Halloween pillows! Originally I had some fancy ideas on how I was going to do a bunch of piecing and quilting, but I've been working on so many other projects that I kind of just wanted the satisfaction of something quick and easy. So! I made these guys.

I have made a few Halloween things over the last few years, but most of my Halloween fabric stash was given to me or I would buy when it was heavily discounted and out of season. Somehow, I still have SO MUCH. I think I'll need to make some more stuff!

I took the other generic pillow covers off and threw them in the wash and then storage. I think I like the idea of making pillows out of scraps and changing them out regularly. I don't often make things for my own home so it's strange to make something and not immediately put it in the mail. I actually get to enjoy these for a while!

That's all for now! Stay Inspired. Stay Spooky.